PIEDMONT -- A request by some residents to regulate chicken coops and chickens laid an egg at Monday night's Planning Commission meeting.
The commission decided to take no formal action.
"Essentially (the panel) said we don't see there is a problem with the regulations although they are somewhat vague," said Commissioner Michael Henn. Henn, a former city planner, was in the minority. He believes the number of chickens should be limited to eight to 10, and other regulations tightened.
About 26 Wildwood Avenue neighbors, led by resident Martha Bureau, submitted a petition to the city aimed at regulating the barnyard fowl in town. The petition cited codes in other cities that are more specific than Piedmont's, the noise and smell generated and the risks of Histoplasmosis, an illness than can be caused by bird droppings.
"They were not asking to prohibit chickens, but for the city to consider regulations such as how far pens should be from structures inhabited by humans," city planner Kate Black said.
Piedmont's city code does not prohibit keeping chickens, Black said. It states that all permitted animals must be kept in a manner that does not generate excessive noise or odors, cause damage to property or pose a danger to public health.
Black said residents occasionally come in to complain about a neighbor's chickens; some are not aware that the fowl are permitted in Piedmont.
"If it's a significant problem,
Complaints range from noisy roosters to excessive odors. Black was not aware of how many Piedmonters keep chickens in their yards.
Other area cities have implemented regulations prohibiting roosters, limiting the number of chickens and specifying the location and size of chicken coops.
Though the hour was late, several chicken-keepers spoke at the meeting, saying their chickens were pets with names, that they like the fresh eggs and that the chickens provided a positive experience for their children. Black did not believe any of the chicken owners killed their chickens for food.
Henn said none of the petitioners spoke at the meeting.
Black said the issue could come up again before the City Council in the future.